SCIART-L Archives

SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration-


Options: Use Forum View

Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Show All Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Britt Griswold <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 14 Oct 2011 11:08:44 -0400
text/plain (45 lines)
I think a comparison of Chris' remarks on Bird guides and Geoff's comments photographing insects 
work pretty well into my comments.

If Geoff's images are for science papers, you can leave a lot as you find it. Bent, broken, dusty 
parts are acceptable, or Geoff can use his art skills to fix the problems. Or take multiple photos 
and glue together a decent image. Or fall back to using 3-4 images when one good illustration would 
do.  The money/time vs. clarity/impact trade off is deemed acceptable to the scientist.

This approach becomes more problematic when communicating with the public, as Chris suggests.

When Geoff needs a really great specimen to present to the public, is he very carefully collecting 
and mounting new, clean, unbroken specimens of local species? You bet he is (right Geoff?) that 
takes time and skill as well.

I agree that the advent of digital photo stacking is effecting all the entomological artists. There 
may be other fields as well, but I think the nature of entomology (all small, hard-shell critters 
that preserve well) that has a tradition of drawing as the preferred method of description for 
external features, has made it a big target for this technology.  I think Taina Litwak (who has 
Marie's job now) at the NMNH is finding her work load altered this way also.

I think you still need an artist who is a photographer to do this work well. I know good 
photographers that are not that great at photoshop fix ups. So Do we feel less of an illustrator 
when making genitalia photos understandable by using photoshop to fix them up?  Must we change out 
job title to Photographer? I would hope not. My camera is a tool, not my profession.

If I have a client who wants the impact of an illustration, illustrate. If I have a client with 
limited budget, photograph and fix it up the best you can.


On 10/14/11 1:37 AM, Chris Gralapp wrote:
> I am thinking of all of the birding guides I have--I think the more useful ones are those with
> illustrations (not that I am biased !).  I find that the photos just don't show me what I need in
> the way of field marks.  I was recently traveling in Africa, and all of the available bird books
> were photographic in design.  At first glance, you might think that this is all you need--but I
> found myself wishing for a Sibley or a Peterson, just so I could get the whole overview of the field
> marks on the birds I was seeing.  This alone is a case for illustration reigning supreme.  It's all
> about information, well described, and easily accessible--no guessing!
> Chris

Need to leave or subscribe to the Sciart-L listserv? Follow the instructions at